Review: Avengers Vs. New Ultimates
I really used to like Mark Millar. He was bombastic, exciting, and while you wouldn’t want his characters as a friend, you knew you wanted to follow them. I hear a lot of criticism about what he’s done, and a lot of it is true, but Millar still managed to make me feel exhilarated at one point. I remember reading the Ultimates during the trial of the Hulk. The scene where Nick Fury out-right lies to Bruce Banner that he’s been saved and then dumps him in the middle of the ocean to die is probably still one of my favourite moments in comics history. It made me pity the Hulk, a character who up until this point had been the creation of a vengeful and irresponsible scientist bent on his own destruction and the destruction of others.
Avengers Vs. New Ultimates is not that Mark Millar. This Mark Millar is tired. He doesn’t want to write characters, he wants to write one-liners. He doesn’t want to write heroes, he writes villains. And boy, are every single one of his characters unlikable. No one, from Tony Stark’s smarmy ass to Captain America who literally has no personality in this comic beyond undying loyalty to his country. There were parts that I definitely still enjoyed. Millar adds a sense of worldliness, to the Ultimates that has been lacking. The story takes place in the middle east and North Korea at one point, and impacts the Ultimate Universe as a whole. My issue is that I just don’t want Millar’s characters to exist in the same universe as Bendis’. They are assholes. Unlike most heroes where you daydream about them being by your side, you would never want to meet Millar’s Iron Man or Nick Fury.
On the other hand, I loved the art and the colouring. The shaggy line art of fill-in artist Stephen Segovia fits the pulpy tone of Avengers Vs. New Ultimates and added a gravitas to the story that Millar can’t pull of on his own. Leinil Yu produces a widescreen battle sequence where you can still tell where all the major characters are. I want to commend Gregory Stark’s character design too. His design was simplistic and distinct. It isn’t all that often you see a man in a white suit flying around the battlefield. However unlikely, I hope that design or character is used again in the future. I felt it had a lot of potential that was left untapped here as Gregory Stark was left to be the impossibly strong villain no one anticipated until the last minute.
I want to give special mention to the colouring because these fight scenes would not work as well as they do without Sunny Gho. Whether Segovia may lack at times, Gho manages to improve upon the original line art with his colours. There is one panel in the miniseries that is has a great clash of colours representing the opposing sides, with a subtle gradiant in the background to represent the winning side. Thank you Sunny Gho. You made this comic fun for me.
Maybe I’m the one who is tired. But, I can’t help it Millar’s stories have all seemed to blend into one douchey melange. The story ends the same way like the rest of his recent drek. The world is better, except it could actually be worse. There’s a monologue. Someone is really happy at another’s expense. This is Millar’s last mainstream comic, to which I say, thanks Millar, for what you have given me, but I am not at all sad to see you go.